Dec. 31, 2010
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and Operation Dove - Nonviolent
Peace Corps of the Association “Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII” | THE
DANGEROUS ROAD TO EDUCATION
Salah is a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who likes to play football
and eat chicken maqlubeh, a traditional dish of rice and meat. He
lives in the village of Tuba, ocated about 15 kilometers southeast
of Hebron, and attends school in At-Tuwani, a village about 2.5
kilometers west of his home. With other children of Tuba, as well as
the village of Maghayir Al-Abeed, Salah walks to school. The
children typically take the shortest route: the main Palestinian
road that connects their villages with At-Tuwani and is encroached
by the Israeli settlement of Ma’on on one side and the Israeli
outpost of Havat Ma’on (also known as Hill 833) on the other.1
Because of ongoing Israeli
settler violence against the school children, the Israeli military
escorts the children on the section of the road that passes between
the settlement and the outpost on their way to and from school.
Dec. 27, 2010
Sabbah Report | No such thing as justice in the Holy Land,
Palestinian Church leaders tell the Irish by Stuart Littlewood
"We need only one thing, to be protected by the world against the
Outside the Irish Parliament. Left to Right: Alan Lonergan (SADAKA),
Constantine Dabbagh, Fr Manuel Musallam, John Ging, Archbishop
We are not here as politicians, they said. We come as
representatives of the various churches in Jerusalem.
But the trio from the Holy Land showed they were more than a
match for Western politicians who fancy they know all about the
Dec. 27, 2010
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land | Christmas
Message of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the ELCJHL
...There are many issues today that cause us to fear: health
problems like cancer and diseases like HIV/ AIDS, economic issues
like job loss and decreasing funds for retirement, family issues
like divorce or the death of a spouse, environmental issues like
global warming and disappearing natural resources, international
tensions and the development of more destructive weaponry, extremism
in politics and religion. Once again we need a Christmas angel
proclaiming, “Fear not!”
Yes, here at Christmas time 2010 in the Middle East, we once
again long for a heavenly angel to comfort us with these words,
Our people are in danger of drowning in fear. Many Christians in
many parts of the Middle East are increasingly cowering in fear and
becoming timid in their witness. Just a little over a month ago in
Baghdad at Our Lady of Salvation Church terrorists gunned down two
priests and fifty-one defenseless worshippers. Since then, another
three were killed in Mosul and an elderly Christian couple were
murdered in their own home in Baghdad. So how do Christians respond?
In an Associated Press story, one woman, afraid to give her name,
said she lives in a constant state of fear, keeping her children
indoors and out of school. In less than fifteen years, the number of
Christians in Iraq has declined from one and a quarter million to
only 400,000. For centuries Christians and Muslims have lived side
by side, yet today religious extremists are holding hostage the
moderate majority, Christian and Muslim alike. Iraqi Christians are
once again in need of a Christmas angel proclaiming “Fear not!”
...Here in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, including Jordan, we are
not facing the same problems of persecution as our sisters and
brothers in many countries of the Middle East. There may be social
and political problems, but we thank God for the religious freedom
we enjoy. Here Christians today number only 1.4 % of the population
with many Arab Christians emigrating because of the political
situation and the lack of willingness and resolve to bring about a
just peace, because of lack of jobs, because of lack of housing,
because of the difficulty of travel, and because of the rise of
extremism on both sides.
Palestinians and Israelis today face a common enemy: fear. In the
absence of justice and peace, the common denominator is fear. Fear
of the other. Fear for the future. Fear that freedom is not coming.
Fear that children will grow in hatred. Fear of insecurity. Fear of
the occupation. Fear is our common prison that keeps us locked up in
cycles of mistrust and shattered dreams. It is a fear that builds
non-productive “facts on the ground”. It is a fear that will only
ever vanish when there is peace based on justice and reconciliation
built on forgiveness. We proclaim that such a just peace is possible
today. We pray that all political leaders will seize the opportunity
before it is too late. The same message of the first Christmas rings
true today, “Fear not!” There is a child who was born into a world
of fear in order to take away that fear and to bring peace to earth
and good will to humankind.
Dec. 26, 2010
Window into Palestine | Another Christmas under Siege in the Holy
Land by Father Father Dr. Faisal Hijazin, Parish Priest of the Holy
Family Catholic Church in Ramallah
The heart of Bethlehem is
not the Church of the Nativity, the Franciscan St. Catherine’s
Catholic Church or Manger Square, nor the many other places of
worship found in this holy city. It is not Rachel’s tomb, now
surrounded by a curtain of iron built to sever it from Bethlehem.
Rather, in truth, the heart of Bethlehem is the community of
believers that, by its presence, has kept the birthplace of Jesus
tended, remembered and venerated since the time that Our Savior
appeared on earth, born of a virgin, to save us from our sins.
During all these centuries, Bethlehem has remained a Christian
This Christmas, Christians around the world will be singing such
Christmas Carols as “O Little Town of Bethlehem” without knowing
that in truth, they could soon be singing of a town where you can no
longer find the living presence of Christ, the community of those
baptized into his body, the Church; “O Lost Town of Bethlehem” could
be a more accurate sentiment when Christian awake to find that the
Christian presence in this small holy city has, after 2,000 years,
come to an end. The fact is that this is a community that has been
suffocating under military occupation, and all the restriction of
liberty – particularly separation from family living very short
distances away due to the “Wall of Separation” -, that this
subjection to arbitrary regulations and threat of imminent violence
carries with it. The prolongation, decade after decade, of these
circumstances, means that Christians are leaving their beloved city
to seek places where they can raise their families where they can
live, work and pray with the dignity of human beings. This is
perhaps an accusation of our failure to willingly suffer all things
in Christ. Though our faith has sustained us for many years, yet,
failing to see change coming, many, and ever more, opt for places
that offer brighter futures.
...Christians here too are discouraged when they see that many of
their brothers and sisters in Christ from the United States actively
support the policies that are emptying the land of Christ from its
Christian population. They feel rejected by their own. Would it be
not more fitting in the name of the Prince of Peace to call for
justice and equality for all? If Christians are friends of Israel,
do not friends urge their friends towards virtue? If they do not,
are they indeed friends?
Dec. 25, 2010
Zenit | Patriarch Underlines Role of Family, Value of Life
Says Christ Child Teaches Forgiveness and Reconciliation
BETHLEHEM, West Bank, DEC. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The birth of
Christ teaches the faithful many lessons, including the importance
of family and the value of life, says the Latin Patriarch of
Patriarch Fouad Twal reflected on the lessons to be learned from
the Incarnation during Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity
in Bethlehem, which was attended by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the
Palestinian National Authority, as well as its prime minister, Salam
"Christmas is a feast for all the people of the Holy Land," began
Patriarch Twal, "and for all who bring about peace and
He reflected on the birth of Christ, who was born in a cave,
"teaching us humility, meekness, simplicity, and innocence, that we
often forget in a world marked by violence and desire for power."
The Christ Child, he continued, was also "born into a loving
family, which was an experience of love."
Dec. 25, 2010
Zenit | Jerusalem Patriarch's Christmas Message
"It Is Time to
Commit Ourselves Together for a Genuine, True and Long-lasting
JERUSALEM, DEC. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the
Christmas message delivered by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His
Beatitude Fouad Twal.
* * *
Christmas Message 2010
I welcome all of you journalists present here and thank you for
your role in providing information and conscience formation, and for
your commitment to the truth. The message of the recent Synod
recognized your role: "We appreciate the role of the means of social
communication, both printed and audio-visual. We thank you
journalists for your collaboration with the Church in broadcasting
her teachings and activities." (Nuntius 4.4)
To all of you and all the people of Israel, Palestine, Jordan and
Cyprus, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of
surprises at the global, local, and personal levels, and a year of
peace and prosperity.
I greet the Bishops here present: Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo,
our Patriarchal Vicar in Israel, and our new Auxiliary Bishop and
Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories,
Bishop William Shomali, who was ordained last May and comes with a
new energy to help us in our mission. I also welcome Rev. Fr. David
Neuhaus, SJ, our Patriarchal Vicar in Israel for the Hebrew-speaking
Like last year, I would like to present the important events that
have happened this year, here in our Patriarchate. I would like to
emphasize above all the positive events without, however, excluding
the suffering and the concerns that remain.
Dec. 25, 2010
Zenit | Bethlehem Hospital Grows
Children Cared for in the
Land of Jesus' Birth
BETHLEHEM, DEC. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- An expanded Caritas Baby
Hospital was inaugurated in Bethlehem, with new facilities for
training mothers how to care for their children.
In the city of Jesus' birth, this hospital maintained by
international donations opened a "School for Mothers," where the
mothers of hospitalized children will reside and be given formation
to be able to look after their children better. An outpatients
clinic is now also available.
The hospital dates back to Christmas of 1952, when Swiss priest
Father Ernst Schnydrig, on pilgrimage in Bethlehem, saw a father
burying his son who had died because of a lack of medical care.
Dec. 24, 2010
AFP: Yahoo News | Crowds pack Bethlehem to hear message of peace
BETHLEHEM, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – The Middle East's senior
Catholic cleric called for peace and reconciliation in a traditional
Christmas Eve midnight mass before thousands in the birthplace of
"During this Christmas season, may the sound of the bells of our
churches drown the noise of weapons in our wounded Middle East,"
Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal told an audience that included Palestinian
president Mahmud Abbas.
Pilgrims from around the world gathered in St. Catherine's Church
on Bethlehem's Manger Square to hear the traditional address in the
city where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born.
As peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain
stalled, Twal offered a vision of a better, more peaceful future.
"Our hope for Christmas is that Jerusalem not only becomes the
capital of two nations, but also a model for the world, of harmony
and coexistence of the three monotheistic religions."
Dec. 24, 2010
AFP: Yahoo News | Christmas in Bethlehem Slideshow
Dec. 24, 2010
AP on Yahoo News | Bethlehem celebrates merriest Christmas in years
BETHLEHEM, West Bank – The traditional birthplace of Jesus is
celebrating its merriest Christmas in years, as tens of thousands of
tourists thronged Bethlehem on Friday for the annual holiday
festivities in this biblical West Bank town.
Officials said the turnout was shaping up to be the largest since
2000. Unseasonably mild weather, a virtual halt in
Israeli-Palestinian violence and a burgeoning economic revival in
the West Bank all added to the holiday cheer.
By nightfall, a packed Manger Square was awash in red, blue,
green and yellow Christmas lights.
Merrymakers blasted horns, bands sang traditional Christmas
carols in Arabic, boy scout marching bands performed and Palestinian
policemen deployed around the town to keep the peace.
A group of 30 tourists from Papua New Guinea, all wearing red
Santa hats, walked around the nearby Church of the Nativity, built
on the site where tradition holds Jesus was born. Both church
officials and the Palestinian president voiced hopes for peace.
Dec. 24, 2010
9 News at a Glance, Australia | Tourists flock to Bethlehem
Record numbers of tourists have arrived in Bethlehem to celebrate
Christmas at the site traditionally believed to be the birthplace of
A large number of people — from both the Christian and Muslim
communities — are gathering at the Church of the Nativity in Manger
Square in the West Bank for carols and a Mass.
The tourist boom has boosted the economy with shopkeepers reporting
strong sales in souvenirs and Christmas themed items.
Dec. 24, 2010
Zenit | Order Helps Descendants of Bethlehem Shepherds
Cardinal Recommends Spiritual Visit to Nativity Scene
ROME, DEC. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- As our thoughts naturally turn
to Bethlehem in the final days before Christmas, Cardinal John Foley
is urging a manifestation of solidarity with the descendants of
those who lived in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago and were among the
first to adore God-made-man.
The cardinal made this appeal Saturday in Rome's Basilica of St.
John Lateran, during a Mass of investiture for the new members of
the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Cardinal Foley is grand master of the order, which is dedicated
to, among other things, helping Christians of the Holy Land.
"In these days before Christmas, it is easy to remember the Holy
Land," the American cardinal said. "Our thoughts go spontaneously to
Bethlehem and to Mary and Joseph."
Dec. 24, 2010
Zenit | An Arab Seminarian's Reflection on Christmas
Your Spiritual Senses to the Current Prayers and Cries of Our
CHICAGO, DEC. 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a letter from Khalil
Hattar, an Arab-American seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of
Chicago at St. Joseph College Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. The
letter reflects on the situation of Christians in the Middle East.
Hattar's parents both immigrated from Jordan to the United States in
the late 1980s.
* * *
...we, too, must surrender our lives to Christ by coming to the
aid of our Christian brothers and sisters who are being martyred in
Iraq, persecuted in the Holy Land and forced into hiding and exile
across the region for the sake of righteousness. Be attentive to
their plight, as they are forced to endure oppression and even death
for the name of Jesus. We must be careful not to turn into the inn
keepers of Bethlehem who would not respond to the pleas of Mary and
Joseph in their time of need, but rather, may the Spirit of Wisdom,
dwelling within each of us, motivate you to do all you can for the
least of our brothers and sisters as you would do for Christ. Like
Jesus and his earliest disciples, they are being targeted for their
witness of faith and this cannot stand. As a people of God, sharers
of the one Bread, united in one Spirit, work tirelessly on behalf of
the people of the Middle East that they may remain for us as pillars
of faith in the land which contained the mysteries of our salvation.
This task should not be perceived as an obligation or a strain, but,
tempered with gentleness, invite the Holy Spirit to assist you "for
us to live is to live with constant assent to Jesus, His Kingdom and
His readiness to save all people!"
Dec. 23, 2010
World Council of Churches | Christmas Message
The nativity of
Jesus Christ is proclaimed by angelic choirs in the heights of
heaven, and the joyous news is echoed afterwards by modest shepherds
in fields near Bethlehem. Meanwhile, a mother and father care for
their newborn child. No place for this family could be found in the
inn, so they shelter among livestock. The circumstances are
strikingly humble, yet their infant is the occasion of the angels’
suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
heavenly host, praising God and saying,
God in the highest heaven,
earth peace among those whom God favours!”
The splendour of Christmas highlights many contrasts in our
surroundings. First of all – it is all about what we are given –
surprisingly – by God. This revelation of glory in heaven is given
to people living off the land, dependent on simple blessings found
in fields and farmyards, in caring for sheep and celebrating a new
birth. It is they who first hear the promise of so much more than
bare survival or the simplest pleasure. They dare to imagine the
real possibility of peace on earth. The song of angels encourages
them to give glory to God alone and to seek peace with others, far
Dec. 23, 2010
World Council of Churches | Women offer theological perspectives on
Thirty women gathered in Bethlehem on 13-18
December to celebrate the first anniversary of the “Kairos
Palestine” document on the quest for peace and human rights in
Palestine and Israel. The gathering also reflected theologically on
the content of the text. Participants came from the Middle East,
Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Latin America and Australia.
The group represented different ecclesial traditions and included
one member of the Jewish faith. They were lay, ordained,
theologians, ecumenical and church leaders, and many are engaged in
social action. The Bethlehem gathering was sponsored by the World
Council of Churches (WCC) office on Women in Church and Society and
by the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum.
The women also experienced the visible reality of the occupation
of Palestine during visits to Israeli checkpoints and encounters
with the Separation Wall. They united around a common hope for the
end of the occupation and a call for just peace.
The women embraced “listening as a mark of solidarity”: a form of
participation during the meeting and a point of origin for the just
peacemaking work to be done following the meeting. Faith, hope and
love expressed through just peace were themes within "Kairos
Palestine" that these women found particularly inspiring.
Dec. 21, 2010
This Week in Palestine | Shibat, Rocking Christmas by Margo Sabella
Christmas is often associated with the usual Santas, red and gold
decorations and blinking lights. But for the past three years,
Shibat has become the refreshing new tradition during the Christmas
season in Palestine; one that young and old look forward to each
This group of six rocks audiences with old Christmas favourites
played to Rock & Roll tunes, making it more of a party and less of a
musical concert, where audiences interact and leave the show with a
sense of wellbeing, faces all aglow. Ringing in the Christmas season
has never been more fun for the entire family.
Dec. 20, 2010
Wallwritings | The "Little Town of Bethlehem" Still Waits for Its
Stolen Democracy by the Reverend James M. Wall [Methodist]
new Palestinian parliament was elected in the Occupied Territories
on January 25, 2006. One month from this Christmas, Palestinians
should have been celebrating the fifth anniversary of that
democratic, internationally-monitored, election.
There will be no celebration in January, 2011. Instead,
Bethlehem, the West Bank, and Gaza still wait for the democracy that
was stolen from them.
Palestinians remain trapped in a military occupation the Israeli
government forced the world to accept because the “wrong” party won.
For one brief shining moment, before the 2006 results were
rewritten to fit the Zionist narrative, democracy lived in the land
where Christ was born.
In a story of rare candor for a major American news outlet
writing about Israel, on January 26, 2006, the Washington Post
reported the elections fairly. The Post began its coverage:
Dec. 18, 2010
Desertpeace | Hakenkreuz and Davidstern: The Swastika and the Star
of David by the Reverend Alvin Alexsi Currier
response to New York Times columnist Roger Cohen
By Alvin Alexsi Currier
On June tenth, 2010, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen posted
a poignant meditation, weaving his personal joy in the ancient
melodies of Judaic tradition, occasioned by the Bat Mitzvah of his
daughter, with his personal pain over the staccato rhythms of
international news and reaction occasioned by the Israeli
interception of the Freedom Flotilla off Gaza.
It was a beautifully written piece. I felt for him.
Suddenly in this sorrowful contrapuntal flow, a cacophony
exploded. The cause of this drum roll of rage was a comment by the
Turkish Prime Minister who said that now the world perceived the
Swastika and the Star of David together.
Ach, ja, I thought in German; Hakenkreuz und Davidstern.
Instantly I knew his rage. I felt his pain.
You see, I was a Pastor in the German Church. I know the pain of
seeing the Fatherland I loved go feral. I may have been young and
distant when it all started but I have tasted the rage of watching
the Swastika gather to itself all things German and then carry them
to ignominy in Auschwitz.
Dec. 15, 2010
Zenit | Vatican: Let Peace Begin in Jerusalem
Sends Note for Holy Land Prayer Day
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of the
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is asking for peace on
earth, and that it begin in Jerusalem.
Cardinal Peter Turkson wrote this in his message for the Third
International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land. Bishop
Mario Toso, the dicastery's secretary, also signed the note, which
was released today.
The prayer initiative, which is organized by several Catholic
youth associations, will take place Jan. 29-30.
The annual event began in 2009, when faithful from some 500
cities around the world joined in a common prayer for peace. Last
January, some 1,103 cities worldwide joined Benedict XVI, Father
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the custos of the Holy Land, and Archbishop
Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, to participate in the
prayer for peace.
Organizers say that groups from more than 2,000 cities have
already confirmed participation in this year's event.
Dec. 15, 2010
Zenit | Jesuit Honored for Saving 3 Jewish Children
Brothers, Cousin Hid Among Catholic School Students
By Anita S. Bourdin
ROME, DEC. 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Graziano Sonnino and Marco
Pavoncello remember Jesuit Father Raffaele de Ghantuz Cubbe for his
courage and goodness. It was that courage and goodness that saved
their lives, along with the life of Sonnino's brother Mario.
The Sonninos and Pavoncello, as young Italian Jews, were saved
from the Holocaust when Father Cubbe hid the children at his Jesuit
school. Their surname was changed to Sbardella, a southern name of
the region of Cassino, which had been bombed by the Allies, meaning
their identity was impossible to verify.
Father Cubbe (1904-1983) was recognized Tuesday in Rome with the
honor of Righteous Among the Nations, the title bestowed by the Yad
Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Dec. 15, 2010
Sojourners | Middle East Martyr-Christians by Gary M. Burge, Ph.D.,
Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College
One of the most
precious artifacts I have in my office isn’t an ancient coin or oil
lamp. It is a business card. From northern Iraq.
Monther Al-Saka handed it to me just after I preached a sermon in
his church, Mosul’s Evangelical Presbyterian Church. They served
fried chicken after worship (”Don’t all Americans love fried
chicken?” he asked), we exchanged hugs, and I went on my way. But on
Dec. 1, 2006, Monther was martyred — for being a Christian leader in
the chaos we now call Iraq. He was standing on the front porch of
the church — he had been warned by Sunni extremists to flee or die,
but he stood his ground. And a bullet from a car met him on a Sunday
Monther is the only martyr I have ever personally known. In 2008,
I saw his wife at a conference and realized that though she was
alive, she too had suffered martyrdom. Something had died within
her, and it was palpable.
All of this came rushing back to me when I read the news reports
in November about what had happened in Baghdad on Oct. 31. Gunmen
stormed the Sayidat al-Nejat Syriac Catholic Cathedral in central
Baghdad, shot its young priest (whose dying words were, “I am a
martyr for Jesus”), and then in the melee that followed, killed 57
people and wounded many more. After four hours, the church was
stormed by Iraqi and American troops. The incident was denounced by
many good people, and responsibility for it was claimed by others
for whom assaults on Christians is a deadly political strategy. It
was hardly mentioned in the American media.
Dec. 14, 2010
Sadaka. Ireland-Palestine Alliance | Palestinian Church Leaders Tour
We are Arab Christians.
See the photo journal of the seven-day
Dec. 14, 2010
ENT | Israel expects 90,000 Christmas tourists
Dec 13, 2010
The Tourism Ministry is preparing for the expected arrival in
Israel of 90,000 tourists over the Christmas period (which is
celebrated over a two week period by the different churches) - about
one third of them pilgrims. The tourists and pilgrims are expected
to visit the holy sites and participate in the masses to be held in
Bethlehem and Nazareth.
The Tourism Ministry is working in cooperation with the heads of
the Christian communities in Israel, the Israel Police, mayors, the
Coordination and Liaison Administration (DCO), the Palestinian
Tourism Authority and other relevant bodies in order to facilitate a
speedy and welcoming entry and departure from Israel and ensure a
pleasant visiting experience.
Dec. 14, 2010
Sadaka, Ireland-Palestine Alliance | Palestine: A Christian Response
to Occupation by Dr. David Morrison
In December 2009,
Palestinian Christians published the Kairos Palestine Document. Its
authors describe it as “the Christian Palestinians’ word to the
world about what is happening in Palestine”. In it, they request the
international community “to stand by the Palestinian people who have
faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for
more than six decades” and to bring pressure to bear on Israel to
end the occupation of Palestinian land.
In November 2010, Sadaka is hosting a tour of Ireland by
Palestinian church leaders, H.E. Archbishop Theodosius Hanna of the
Greek Orthodox Church, Monsignor Manuel Musallam of the Latin
Catholic Church and Mr Constantine Dabbagh, Executive Secretary of
the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) Department of Service for
Palestinian Refugees in Gaza. The purpose of the tour is to enable
these leaders to bring this message personally to church and
political leaders in Ireland.
This booklet presents an outline of the facts and figures about
Christians in Palestine, followed by key passages from the Kairos
The Catholic Church held a Synod of Bishops for the Middle East
in the Vatican from 10-24 October 2010. The third section of this
booklet presents key conclusions of the Synod in respect of
Dec. 12, 2010
Zenit | Pope Sends Prayers to Victims of Israeli Forest Fire
Holy See Meets With Israeli Commission; Takes Up Negotiations With
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is
assuring his prayers for the victims of the four-day forest fire
that took the lives of more than 40 people in Israel last week.
This was announced in a statement today from the Vatican
regarding the Thursday plenary meeting of the Bilateral Permanent
Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel.
The Holy See welcomed that meeting, as well as talks held two
days earlier with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Dec. 9, 2010
Zenit | Iraqi Bishops to Address European Parliament
Archbishop Louis Sako Awarded for Peace Work
STRASBOURG, France, DEC. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Next week a
delegation of Iraqi bishops will address the European Parliament in
Strasbourg about the situation of Christians in their country.
"We want Europe and the West to put pressure on the Iraqi
government to guarantee the rights of Christians and of religious
minorities," explained Syrian Catholic Archbishop Georges Casmoussa
Dec. 9, 2010
Christians for Middle East Peace | Advent Reflection: Patience Is
Not Waiting by the Reverend Doris Warrell
Having been raised
in Ohio, I felt a small-town kinship when I first moved to the
Palestinian village of Beit-Jala, just south of Jerusalem.
Connection to the land came from the sense of purpose and
fulfillment that working the land gives people. Being in close
relationship to the Creator through cultivating a harvest and
providing for one's family and community can give people who do this
work a profound fulfillment.
Dec. 1, 2010
Zenit | US Bishops Laud Congress Support for Iraqi Victims
Urge Passage of House Resolution
WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops are
commending a resolution in the House of Representatives that
condemns the recent attacks on Iraqi Christians and calls for
protection of religious minorities.
A press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
reported that this resolution urges the U.S. government to work with
Iraqi authorities to protect these minorities.
Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of
conference's Committee on International Justice and Peace, and
Archbishop José Gómez, coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles and
chairman of the Committee on Migration, wrote a Nov. 29 letter to
congressmen urging the passage of House Resolution 1725.
This resolution was introduced Nov. 18 by Chris Smith.
The bishops expressed support for the resolution's emphasis "on
developing a comprehensive plan to improve security for religious
minorities and to increase their representation in the government of
Iraq and to include them in all aspects of Iraqi society."
The prelates also expressed support for the resolution's
condemnation of the Oct. 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic Church of
Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad that left 58 dead.
They noted that this attack, as well as "the continuing violence
against Christians are horrific reminders of the appalling lack of
security that has condemned many in Iraq to live in fear."
The bishops stated, "We sincerely hope that H. Res. 1725 will be
adopted quickly by the House of Representatives as we believe it
will help improve security for all Iraqis, especially Christians and
other vulnerable minorities."
They added, "We hope it will contribute to the overall goal of
achieving a 'responsible transition' that will reduce further loss
of life and address the refugee crisis in Iraq."
Dec. 1, 2010
Zenit | Pope Greets Baghdad Cathedral Attack Victims
Greets Baghdad Cathedral Attack Victims
Expresses His Closeness to Persecuted Christians
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI met
privately today with a group of Iraqis who were wounded in the Oct.
31 massacre in Baghdad's Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press
office, told ZENIT that the Pope received a group of about 50 people
after the weekly general audience, which was held in Paul VI Hall.
Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic accepted about 26 injured survivors of
the attack, including 16 women, three children and seven men. They
were transferred by plane from Baghdad together with 21 relatives.
The attack left 58 dead and more than 100 wounded. France also
welcomed over 70 of the injured Iraqis for hospital care.
Father Lombardi reported that Archbishop Fernando Filoni,
substitute of the Secretariat of State, accompanied the group: "He
had already visited the injured at Gemelli a few days ago, after
their arrival, and feels especially close to the country and the
Iraqi Christians, as he was the nuncio in Iraq during the most
dramatic moments of the conflict."
"The Pope greeted them all one by one and spoke a few impromptu
words of closeness, comfort and prayer," the spokesman added. "They
showed him photographs of some bombing victims."
Father Lombardi explained that the meeting was a "further way of
manifesting the great closeness and concern of the Pope and the
universal Church over the fate of Christians, not only in Iraq, but
also in other areas of the Middle East and the world, in which they
are victims of violence and injustice."